Sunday, February 03, 2008

Of mud men and moss maids

I recently read on the Ellis Hollow blog about Craig's plans to build a Mudman.

He was inspired by photos of this sculpture called The Giant's Head at The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, England.

Then when I was searching for online information on Moss Maidens for my post last week, this photo popped up on Google images:

Two living garden sculptures in one week! Synchronicity started playing in my head. I had to learn more.

Clicking through, I found the Waterfall Cottage site, where I read that Australian sculptor Belinda Villani had created Lily (above), inspired by another sculpture at Heligan.

Here's the original Mud Maiden at Heligan:

The Heligan sculptures were crafted by Sue Hill and her brother Pete, who also have works at The Eden Project in Cornwall.

This one is called Eve. On this page that includes several photos of its construction, it's called the Apples sculpture, though.

The photo below resembles Eve, and was also created by Sue and Pete Hill. It was part of the "Garden of Dreams" in the 2006 Chelsea Flower show, and is called The Dreaming Girl.

One source says that after the show, the figure was bought by Olivia Harrison for her own garden. (Click the link for another view and more info on the plants.)

Then there's this.

It's at Bute Park in Cardiff, Wales, and been called a troll, a warthog, and a mudbeast. I can't find any information on the maker, but it seems a bit too rough-hewn to be by the Hills.

Still cute, though. Apparently it had to be fenced in, to prevent people from climbing on it.

Check here for a series of photos showing the creation of a garden scupture called Terra M Firma. The last the artist mentioned, it's not growing moss as well as she'd hoped.

I've been inspired by these living sculptures!

My idea though, is to find rocks with moss already growing on them, and then arrange them artfully to resemble, say, a turtle. Or a snail. Have to start small.


additional links:
Heligan Gardens website.
The Eden Project website.
Search flickr for "Heligan head" to see how that sculpture changes over time and season.
Other views of the Mud Maiden at Heligan are here and here.
Another view of the Mudbeast.


Photo credits:
The Giant's Head at Heligan by Ollie O'Brien.
Lily at Waterfall Cottage by Jeanne Villani.
Mud maid at Heligan by Liz Jones.
Eve at The Eden Project by Patricia Hamilton.
Dreaming Girl by Caroline, aka Elfleda.
Mudbeast at Bute Park by Mart, aka Late Night Movie.


MamaHen said...

Hey, that gives me ideas too! I've never seen anything like those. Oh, BTW, IT IS TOO going to snow here again! ;) I think this year even.

Rurality said...

You could so totally make one of these! Then you could come make one here too. :)

Anonymous said...

These are all so amazing! I love how creative people are! Thanks for sharing!

robin andrea said...

Those are spectacular! I love the moss-covered curves and roundness on the moss maids. So beautiful. It would never occur to me to create such a thing. I like your idea of starting out small.

Anonymous said...

I think mine will end up looking more like the hog than the other sculptures.

My big concern is getting things to grow on it that are interesting but won't require a ton of weeding or watering. Even though our climate here is generally cool and wet, things often dry out in midsummer. And anything planted on a mound like that in full sun is going to dry out fast.


R.Powers said...

Those are amazing, but we know yours, will be better.

Omelay said...

this post is another example why you are the queen of all blogs. your posts send me on the best adventures. tangent after tangent of childlike wonder. thanks again.


Rurality said...

Tom, they are cool, aren't they! I was just pointing out to hubby last night that we already have a nice mound of dirt near the garden... :)

RA, I never would have dreamed these up either. I just love them though.

Craig, the Hill sculptures are really and truly art -- it would be difficult to duplicate something like that at home unless one is already an artist (like Annie from Edifice Rex). I had the same thought too, that things would dry out, especially on the top.

FC, yeah right! I think mine will definitely be in miniature.

Karl, ha! I see that Pablo has infected you. :) Glad you liked the tangents!

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Those are too cool.

KFarmer said...

That just blew me away! How beautiful they all were! I've never seen anything quite like it. Thanks :)

Phillip Oliver said...

These are amazing aren't they? I just discovered Heligan gardens a few months ago and was amazed by the story. I would love to visit it one day.

Pamela said...

I had the hubby look at that last one.. and we thought how cool would that be if we made it so the grandkids could crawl through the nose.

wineandroasts said...

Very, very cool. Thanks for sharing!

I love Dreaming Girl's shock of "blonde" fountain grass!

Anonymous said...

Amazing creativity. But there is something about them that is sort of a monster movie where creatures rise up out of the ground. Just me, I guess.

Jen said...

Wow, thanks for sharing I have never seen anything like those.

Rurality said...

AD/KM, yeah I want one!

KF, me neither, and then I ran into those two references in one week.

Phillip, me too. The pineapple pit sounded interesting too.

Pamela, the kids would love it, I'm positive. Not sure how easy it would be to keep stuff growing on it though!

CG, oh yeah the hair really makes it! I wonder if it stays growing like that all year. If anyone is close personal friends with Olivia Harrison, maybe they could tell us. :)

Anon, I think you've been watching too many horror movies, LOL. But now you have me thinking how interesting it would be to make a really scary one. ;)

Thanks Jen, this one took a while to do, getting the photo permissions, but I thought it was a really unusual idea.

Y'all let me know if you see any photos of other examples. Or if you make one of your own!

Frances, said...

Amazing, good research work too. I had seen the 'man', have a book with it on the cover about Green Men, but not the lady. So glad to have found your blog through my comment list. Thanks for that.

Frances at Faire Garden

Walter Jeffries said...

Way cool! You've given me ideas...

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Love the moss maids and the mudpeople too. It's a fun idea for a big garden. Unfortunately mine is a small one. Thanks for sharing, I loved the pics!

Julia Erickson said...

These garden figures are hilarious--thanks for sharing.

Rurality said...

Thanks Frances, I have started collecting moss rocks... so far they don't look like anything in particular though. :)

Walter, send me a link if you make one of these!

Yolanda, I think I may try to make a small one. If it works, you'll see it here later...

HG, mine will probably be hilarious too, though not necessarily on purpose. :)

Here is another link with some how-to on living sculptures:

lisa said...

Those are the coolest darn things I've ever seen! Thanks so much for the links and info...I really want to try this myself, and I can't wait to see yours.

Anonymous said...

Amazing and creative

Pinkerbell said...

Hey I came here because I was searching for more about the Mud Maid at Heligan.

I wrote a poem inspired by it here:

Anonymous said...

Mother Nature is smiling upon you..I applaud the creativity and beauty of this artist. I cannot impersonate, will attempt to imitate your creation at home. I am inspired!!Carol Ann